José Casanova

During the early hours of 18 July 1936, General Francisco Franco declared a state of war and his opposition to the Second Spanish Republic. In undermining the Republican government’s ability to keep order, the ensuing coup d’état precipitated unprecedented open violence. Thus began the Spanish Civil War.

The rapid and drastic process of secularization in western Europe over the last decades has not diminished the continuing unease with which Europe considers the Islamic religion and Muslims in its midst. In this benchmark essay from 2004, José Casanova argues that the “Islam problem” is an indicator of the disparity between liberal and illiberal strands of European secularism.